On October 14, 2019, Rod Rutkowski, the Director of Health Management, died unexpectedly after 38 years of service to under-resourced patients at St. Margaret. Rod had been in charge of disbursing support to patients and families in need through The Bed Fund. In memory of his dedication and his servant leadership, St. Margaret Foundation officially designated The Bed Fund "The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund" at his memorial service on October 18, 2019.
A Brief History of The Bed Fund
The Bed Fund was created at St. Margaret Hospital in 1929 to provide support for people who fall between the gaps of covered healthcare and social services. At the time many children and adults were dying of Tuberculosis. Soon after the fund was created two young brothers, wanting to buy a present for their hospitalized friend, earned money doing chores and saved it in a teapot shaped like an elephant. Sadly, their friend died before they could bring him their gift. So, the brothers decided to donate their teapot full of money to St. Margaret for The Bed Fund. For years the hospital celebrated the boys’ generosity with an annual Children’s Pilgrimage and an elephant became the Fund’s mascot. A baby elephant from the Pittsburgh Zoo was the star of the Children’s Pilgrimage in the 1970s. The original elephant teapot from 1929 and an antique collection of elephant statues are on display in the St. Margaret Foundation office as an inspiration to fill in the gaps with hope.
The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund
When Camilla, a 79-year-old woman with heart disease couldn't afford her monthly life-sustaining prescriptions. She needed short-term assistance with the cost so that hospital social workers had time to engage a long-term solution. St. Margaret Foundation donors filled in that gap.
Daniel is a 41-year-old father of three, with a fourth child on the way, and was recently diagnosed with metastatic stage IV cancer. Donors to St. Margaret Foundation paid for an air conditioner so that he could be discharged from the hospital to home to spend his remaining time with his family.
When Elisa, an unemployed 37-year-old woman diagnosed with COVID-19 required hospitalization, St. Margaret Hospital was able to take care of her despite her lack of health insurance. Eventually, the only thing keeping her in the hospital was her inability to pay for supplemental oxygen. St. Margaret Foundation donors paid for a one-month supply of home oxygen so that she could finish her recovery at home.
For more information on The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund, please call St. Margaret Foundation at 412-784-4205
or UPMC Care Management at 412-784-4090.